10 Frugal family fun ideas

Jun 29, 2011 at 9:39 a.m. ET

As parents, we can easily get wrapped up planning big, elaborate and expensive outings with our children to places like the circus or amusement parks. While those events are great, there are also small, simple things that bring them just as much joy and still respect the family budget.

Family baking

Build lifelong memories without breaking the bank by checking out some of these great options for frugal family fun.


Volunteering is a great (and free) way for the family to give back to the community. Plant a tree, check out the local animal shelter or read books to the elderly and use the opportunity to teach your children valuable lessons that will carry them through adulthood.

More ideas for family volunteering can be found at Volunteer with your kids: Projects to do together >>


For starters, buy a star chart, then choose a spot in your yard that affords a clear view of the sky. Have the whole family venture out after dinner to watch how the night sky changes hour to hour and day to day.

Find fun activities in your area with the SheKnows City Guide >>

3Treasure Hunt

Get prepared by strategically placing little dollar-store jewels and treasures in the yard, then drawing a map with directions to find the treasures. For an ancient look, let some coffee soak into the map to brown it with age; while the paper is wet, rip it around the edges. Surprise the family by having the map magically appear after the family meal.

Find easy ways to get the family started geocaching with Go on a treasure hunt: A geocaching primer >>

4Cooking and baking

Kids love working with dough and squishing it between their fingers. Get the whole family involved by assigning each person specific tasks and enjoy the way the house smells after the cookies, breads or muffins are done.

Get practical advice on cooking with kids at Tips for baking with kids >>

5Magic tricks

Head to the library for a book on easy magic tricks and amaze the family. Put on a show for little kids, or teach an older child some tricks that he can perform in front of the whole family.

Printable activities and games at the SheKnows Kid's Activity Center >>

Up next: 5 More frugal family fun ideas >>

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